By Marsha M. Brown
For many of you who are faithful readers of GIG LINE, I first want to thank you. This column initially started as a one time story about my ‘sweetie pie’ Billy and his coming home after serving in Vietnam during T.E.T. It was to publically acknowledge all veterans in particular Vietnam veterans, for their sacrifice, for their heartache there…and unfortunately their heartache here.
But as it turned out God had a special plan for Billy and for me and GIG LINE turned out to be the catapult to bigger and better things that influenced positive things for not only our Dare County veterans but even into neighboring counties as well. I thank God for His insight and the opportunities He provided to both Billy and I. And for the passing weeks, months and even years that I’ve written this column, blessings have grown, spread and multiplied beyond words. God always knows best. He just does. Sometimes we just don’t understand why things happen as they do; but I can tell you this without reservation…I would rather go through the heartaches life sometimes presents us WITH God than without Him…that’s for sure.
Gathering, calculating and taking paperwork to our C.P.A. was especially grueling this year. While I typically (in preparation for filing) sorted through receipts and bank statements all these years, Billy and I would sit down, sort and tally them up together. I’d call the figures out and he’d calculate the totals for typical expenditures but this year it was different. Billy is in Heaven and with no stress over tax preparation or numerical calculations, he is at peace. But in going through each and every receipt from the beginning of 2017 especially starting in February when he was diagnosed and through July 12th when he passed, I relived each piece of bad news, the look on his face, the tears that fell from our children and my face, the sheer heartache and heartbreak of a terminal illness and sometimes muddling through, all I could do was cry. Amidst the separate piles of paperwork, I relived every day, every night and every minute of his life. My mind was as clear as a bell envisioning the nights I sat beside his hospital bed in our dining room and from my bedside chair kissing his sweet face, his shoulder, his arm and his big hand always so strong and protective for all the years before. And even during the alteration from the brain tumor, he would still always tell me, Bill and Bonnie he loved us and then impart the best smile he could muster. Sometimes he’d make me laugh purposely saying funny goofy things that he knew would bring a chuckle to both of us…this tax preparation was painful in so many ways just as it is for anyone who misses their true, true love. But…eventually I got it done and finally took the most thorough summaries I could gather to our very dear C.P.A. who accepted the calculations I handed her and then handed me tissues when I started to cry…again.
On the other side of sadness, I also felt good and comforting things too…and blessings …lots and lots of blessings. I remembered the beautiful kindnesses of my best friend ‘Bibber’ Clark, and other friends so dear to my heart like Laura Dough and Dale Wescott and Brenda Clements who stood by Billy and I and our children every single day. They were here helping with housework, going to the grocery/running errand, offering to sit at night if I wanted them too, providing meals and even organizing our pantry, They and many more came with words of encouragement, jokes to make Billy laugh; they literally sat at the food of Billy’s bed and read scripture to him, praying with and for him (and our family); they walked Billy’s little Yorkie ‘Pepper’…they did virtually everything humanly possible to lift us up, offer sincere support and give us more than anyone can imagine. Our church Pastor (Preacher Steve) and his wife Becky (Preacher Becky) visited often, offering comfort, God’s almighty word and even song, when Becky sang Billy’s favorite hymns at his bedside. Linda T., Jean R. and others brought or sent fresh casseroles and home cooked meals every few days and so faithfully, so sweetly and my sister Donna too…oh my goodness…she brought meal after meal, homemade jello (Billy loved the multi-flavored treat – solid liquid he could swallow…and the vets – oh, gracious the veterans! They too came as loving brothers and sister and sat beside him, read to him and prayed for him. They were here nearly every day doing something for us.
This is Easter time folks. It’s a time to remember the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. He made the ultimate sacrifice on the cross because of his precious love for all of us. I am here to tell you I know how real God is, how faith or the lack thereof can absolutely make or break a person and how much I hope and pray that each of you have faith even as small as a mustard seed to believe in someone bigger than all of us who somehow miraculously brings flowers out of the dirt, brings a rainbow after the rain, and who blows the wind to stand our beautiful American flag out as straight as a newly laundered/starched bed sheet so that all the stars and stripes are easily seen. God Almighty in His infinite wisdom gave me the opportunity, privilege and honor to marry the most wonderful man in this world; to love him and be loved by him and I can never thank God enough.
So my sweet friends, while I boo hoo and belly ache sometimes, I don’t mean too. I talk to each of you through GIG LINE as if we’re buddies and I’m thankful you take the time to hear me out. I never forget though that you (we) have all endured heartache but I pray that I will consider the opportunities God has given me and will give me throughout me (our) lives to lift each other up, pray for each other, be there for those in need and love our country and those who serve to protect it every single day. I pray for new opportunities to do His will, somehow find a way to reach more and more veterans to show them love and pride and gratefulness for all they (you) have done for the rest of us and in doing so…make God and my sweetie pie Billy proud of me.
I wish you all a wonderful Easter Sunday, I truly do. I also wish you a deeper love than ever before amongst your family and friends; I wish for each of you to love your wife or husband more than you could have ever imagined and that you embrace your beautiful children and grandchildren with love, kindness and forgiveness if need be. I hope that as a veteran you hold your head high and let the sun shine brightly on your face and that if you have tears that fall or memories that influence or darken your day, that you just know that you made it through for a reason…you’re here to do more good…and to love and be loved by others. I pray for your peace, your self acceptance and your desire to reach out to other veterans across our county, neighborhoods and workplace.
PLEASE DON’T FORGET!!
Annual Outer Banks V.F.W. Post 10950 celebrationand fund raiser NEXT Saturday, April 22nd between 5–8 PM at the Colington Fire Department, 108 Old School House Rd., (after 2nd bridge in Colington, turn left). It’ll be a special time together with your fellow veterans and vet supporters plus…the food is always absolutely delicious and the plates are only $10 for the BBQ/Chicken, 2 sides and dessert…YUM! And…this year starting at 6:30 PM…drum roll please…they’re having a LIVE AUCTION with FANTASTIC items! YAY! Hosted by devoted V.F.W. members, the day promises to be memorable. The donation(s) will help our V.F.W. members continue their good work helping fellow brothers and sisters…so please invite your family, friends and neighbors and come eat or get a plate to take with you! Also, the Fire Station has an elevator, so bad hips, knees and ankles? NO WORRIES! J It’ll be a breeze getting upstairs so please don’t miss out. We’ll also be there issuing Dare County Veteran I. D. Cards, so bring your DD-214, Driver’s License and a Dare County Tax Bill for the house or vacant property you own in Dare County and get your free Card that will provide discounts at nearly 70 businesses on the Outer Banks! I’ll be looking for you, see you there!
Until next time, be thankful, happy, be safe and folks…be PROUD! If you know a veteran who could use some help, call me @ cell: (252) 202-2058. I’ll do my best to refer them to the best possible source to meet their needs. Have a happy & blessed Easter and God bless you all! Stay tuned.